Alaska News Nightly: August 2, 2007

Governor Palin plans to call a special session to review the Petroleum Profits Tax next year. Plus, the Pebble Mine project gets a huge infusion of cash from a new partial owner and officials track down an old military rocket at a home in a western Alaska village. Those stories and more on tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, broadcast statewide on APRN stations.

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Stevens, Murkowski and Young sign on to new ethics rules, with quibbles
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, D.C.
The U.S. Senate today gave final Congressional approval to new ethics rules for federal lawmakers and more stringent controls on lobbyists and fundraising. The rules require more transparency of earmarked appropriations and set up higher hurdles for earmarks that lawmakers try to move late in the House/Senate conference committee negotiations. The new rules also clamp down on lobbyist fundraising for members of Congress, increase disclosure requirements for lobbyists and ban lawmakers from accepting gifts from lobbyists.

Ethics investigations are new, but Alaska’s future unlikely to change
Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
The FBI investigation of Senator Ted Stevens’ home in Girdwood seems to be without precedent. We take a broader look at Alaskan political history with University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) Professor Stephen Haycox, historian and author of the book Frigid Embrace: Politics, Economics and Environment in Alaska.

Governor Palin to call for special session on oil profits tax
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Tomorrow Governor Palin will announce her plans for calling a special legislative session this fall on action needed to deal with the Petroleum Profits Tax (PPT) that became law last year. Palin has indicated the state tax on oil and gas profits might need revision — or even repeal. She also has said that following the federal indictments of three legislators over their votes on the issue last year, there’s a cloud of suspicion over the legislative decision.

Stevens proposing legislation to manage trans-boundary fisheries
Joel Southern, APRN – Washington, D.C.
Senator Ted Stevens has been pushing the U.S. government to crack down on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing on the high seas. And today he announced he wants the U.S. to take the lead in developing an international framework for managing trans-boundary fisheries that might develop in the Arctic.

Pebble Mine ownership goes 50-50; may push project to final development
Mike Mason, KBBI – Homer
The much-debated Pebble Mine project near Iliamna just received a huge infusion of capital from mining giant Anglo American, the third-largest mining company in the world.

Imagery by
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Park Service releases update to public-private property access rules
Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
The National Park Service is out with another version of rules for accessing private property inside Alaska parks. The Regional Access Guide is aimed at solving long-running disputes between the agency and park inholders. Park Service Spokesman John Quinley says the document is being called interim, because it will likely undergo further revision. He says the biggest change in the latest version eliminates any time limit on right-of-ways across park lands.

St. Michael resident turns in M29A2 rocket to authorities
Paul Korchin, KNOM – Nome
Military officials got a bit of a surprise this past week upon learning about an old piece of ordnance in a Western Alaska village.

Explosives more effective than politics in fixing fish habitat in Tongass
Brian Pollack, KCAW – Sitka
A lot of people are taking a political approach to repairing the environment. But in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest there are a handful of individuals fixing the problem stream by stream.

First sunset returning to Barrow tonight
Earl Finkler, KBRW – Barrow
In Barrow, the sun has been above the horizon since May 10th, but the days of the midnight sun are almost over. Early Friday morning, residents will experience the first sunset in almost three months. Officially the sun will set at 1:49 a.m. and rise again at 3:19 a.m. Commentator Earl Finkler of Barrow has been trying to stay up later to fully appreciate the midnight sun, while it’s still around.